Tips to help seniors beat the heat

   What Does Hydration Mean?
   The body needs water to survive. In fact, the body is made up of 55-60 percent water according to the Centers for Disease Control. Every cell, tissue, and organ in the body must have water to work properly.
   For example, the body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate your joints. Water is needed for overall good health. When there isn’t enough fluid in the body, it becomes dehydrated.
Physical Changes 
that Affect Hydration
   As we age, the ability to feel thirst lessens with age so seniors may not realize when they need to drink more.
   Seniors also may find they have to use the bathroom more often, so they are losing more fluid. In the elderly, body water content begins to fall and muscle mass declines. 
   Muscle holds water, but fat does not, so as a person ages, their body water decreases. These problems are intensified by chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease and dementia. 
   Additionally, medications that increase urination or help constipation can also cause dehydration.
   Tips for Staying Hydrated
   • Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink; by this time you are already dehydrated.
   • Suck on ice cubes or ice pops.
   • Carry a water bottle with you and drink from it regularly.
   • Drink at least eight cups of water every day.
   • Drink extra in extreme heat to replace the water lost from sweating.
   • Eat foods high in water content, such as fruits and vegetables.
   • Do not replace water with alcohol or anything with caffeine, including coffee, tea, or colas. Caffeine
   may cause increased urination.
   • Know the symptoms of dehydration
   Dehydration is a common cause of hospitalization among elderly people, according to the Cleveland Clinic partly because the symptoms of dehydration in the elderly often go unrecognized.
   Symptoms of Dehydration
   First Symptoms:
   • Thirst
   • Dry mouth
   • Dark yellow urine
   • Fatigue
   • Headaches
   • Irritability
   Action: Drink water
   Life Threatening Symptoms:
   • Dizziness
   • Feeling of blacking out when sitting up or standing
   • Confusion
   • Muscle weakness or cramps
   • Sunken eyes
   • Low blood pressure
   • Increased heart rate
   Action: Go to the ER or contact your physician right away
   In addition to fluids, people can beat the heat with their fork. While about 80 percent of daily fluid intake comes from drinks, about 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food.   
   The top three hydrating foods according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrient database are cucumbers, celery and iceberg lettuce. These weigh in at 95 percent water by weight. Other foods high on the list include: zucchini, watermelon, strawberries and cauliflower.
   If someone has chronic dehydration and it is related to their lifestyle, occupation, or diet, they can work with their healthcare provider to make changes that make dehydration less likely. 
   Most importantly, if someone has a chronic medical condition, such as congestive heart failure, it is important for them to talk with their doctor about how much fluid is needed to help prevent or minimize the risks for dehydration.
   Overall, most seniors are unprepared for the health implications of Summer, specifically the changes that can occur from dehydration. 
   Contact Angels Care Home Health about how to stay healthy this Summer, or the benefits of home health care service at 979-244-0600 or visit angelscarehealth.com.

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